Palestinian Poll Shows Discontent With Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

Gaza residents are unhappy with the territory’s Hamas rulers and their war with Israel last summer, a new Palestinian poll shows.

The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that half of Gaza residents want to emigrate, compared to 25 percent in Yehudah and Shomron.

The center’s director, Khalil Shikaki, said the 50-percent immigration figure in Gaza is higher than ever before and that among young people it is even higher, about 80 percent.

“Gaza is definitely showing tremendous frustration,” Shikaki said.

A majority, 63 percent, expressed dissatisfaction with “achievements compared to human and material losses” in the 2014 Gaza war that killed over 2,200 Palestinians. Fighting devastated parts of Gaza and reconstruction has been slow, causing many there to ask if it was worth it.

Of those polled, 63 percent said they support launching rockets at Israel while a blockade is in place. The same number said they favor indirect talks between Hamas and Israel to negotiate a long-term truce in exchange for lifting the blockade.

Only 30 percent said they can criticize Hamas without fear. In Yehudah and Shomron, 32 percent said they could freely criticize Abbas.

Despite the numbers, the poll found that if free elections were held today with just Abbas and Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh running, Hamas would win in Gaza and Abbas in Yehudah and Shomron, both by slim margins.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research polled 1,200 people in early June for the report, with a 3-percent margin of error.